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Does curly hair need special ingredients?

Mary Muses…Hi, I have a couple questions:

1) I’ve heard that there are certain ingredients in shampoos that can be too harsh for curly hair (which tends to be drier) and so should be avoided. Is there much truth to this?

2) I often see articles in magazines that claim that you can help a conditioning treatment work better by adding heat– for example, applying the conditioner to your hair, then wrapping your hair in a towel or shower cap and blasting it with your hair dryer for a few minutes, to help the treatment “penetrate the hair” better. Is there any truth to this?

The Right Brain‘s Hair-Curling Reply:

1) Curly hair hair does have some special needs. Because of the way it kinks and bends, it can be break more easily than straight hair. It’s not exactly correct that it’s drier, it’s just that the effects of lack of moisture are more devastating.

In other words, it’s not that some shampoo ingredients are too harsh, it’s just that your hair needs more conditioning than some shampoos can offer.

Condition your curly hair

So, what does this mean? If you have VERY dry, very curly hair, then you should be conditioning every time you shampoo. Maybe even using a conditioning shampoo on top of using your conditioners. And you may need a styling aid that provides supplemental conditioning. You should consider a conditioning mousse or some kind of combing cream.

Heat your conditioner?

2) As we’ve discussed before, the conditioners work on the surface of your hair. So leaving it on longer or adding heat to make it penetrate better really has little benefit. In some cases, heat can even be damaging. The most important step is to work the conditioner through your hair really well. In most cases you can skip adding heat.